Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Cathedral - Forest of Equilibrium

By far the greatest album ever composed . If I were able to take one album with me into the afterlife this would be it .

I was already a fan of vocalist Lee Dorrian's work in his previous band , Napalm Death and I had always preferred my metal to be a bit on the slower side ( Candlemass , Celtic Frost ) so when I got wind that Lee had left Napalm and formed a doom outfit by the name of Cathedral I was extremely excited . My first taste came from a promo cassette from Earache given to me by a close friend who ran a radio station at Weslyan University, a college in town . The first track , Soul Sacrifice , was a bit more upbeat than I had hoped for and I started feeling a little let down . Then .... I began to listen to the second track on the cassette , Ebony Tears . I felt crushed . Each riff . Each verse . Every pattern within the song , every twist , every turn was overwhelmingly orgasmic . I felt a surge of energy like none I had previously experienced yet somehow I was calm . Solemn yet content with everything around me . THIS is what I had been searching for all of my life . I had just been introduced to my drug of choice .

A few months down the road the full length was made available stateside and I immediately made the trek down to my local record shop to purchase this treasure beyond compare . When I got home and cracked it open I was yet again overwhelmingly thrown off of my guard as I sat and listened , amazed and wondering how a gathering of five mortal beings came to create such perfectly celestial music .

Through Forest I discovered my love of bent strings and slides . At the time it never crossed my mind how bluesy the album actually is or the amount of subtle trickery so effortlessly employed and exacted upon the fragile minds of those who walked amidst these many surrounding limbs . From another planet these sounds were derived . A celestial sphere completely shrouded in the ancient limbs and slowly crawling moss of the shimmering green Mother herself where none save the most enlightened of minds come to gather and take in visions of unfathomable beauty and understanding .

The sheer weight of each single riff along with the patience of wisdom and the marriage between sadness and joy are beyond mortal comprehension . It is a feat that I can only assume tremendously taxed the band in that they never again were able to nor did they bother to recreate the building of another world of such colossal beauty seen through stone eyes destined to crumble and lie in ruin .

Forest of Equilibrium truly is the aural embodiment of beauty in its purest and most absolute form . No drug can take you higher . No form of opiate can drag you as low as the blackness beneath you . You are in the cosmic grip of otherworldly forces and high above the glorious skies you are taken , to temples amidst the heavens to witness the hymns unfold and pass into legend .

Sadly , as mentioned before , Cathedral for some reason or another turned their backs on this approach and opted for a more upbeat sound . Heavy in its own right but nowhere even close to same dimension as Forest of Equilibrium . Many Death/Doom , Funeral Doom bands feel the need to incessantly strum the same note(s) for and extensive amount of time before moving on to next in order to get their point across . Cathedral managed to cover so much more ground in a substantially smaller amount of time yet somehow making it seem as though eternity had passed and was still not quite enough to fully comprehend the vast painting within the sanctity of that sacred sound .

For my money I wholeheartedly consider Forest of Equilibrium to be a Funeral album though as I mentioned before there are many bluesy trick clustered throughout such as the prolonged bending of strings though everything is taken to such an extreme that it transcends well beyond its inspirations reducing them to a subtle novelty unnoticed until many listens later .

Again and for the record , this is by far my favorite album . Always a pleasure to behold and twenty years down the line it never gets old . Of course there are many who do not get it and many who don the cloak of the follower only to get lost along the way . Be sure to bury me with my copy of Forest of Equilibrium as I embark upon the timeless journey beyond .

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